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Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Coaltion Cause Firewood Collection Fiasco



The Labor Opposition has called on the Coalition government in Parliament today to refer the Forest Amendment Bill 2012 back to the Environment and Resources Committee in the light of a free for all firewood collection fiasco that has occurred since the Liberal National government got it wrong again with the changes to firewood collection rules, Member for Bendigo West, Maree Edwards said.

“The reason Labor has requested this amendment is because this issue has become a very significant one and any changes to the legislation with regard to the collection of firewood and the abolition of permits requires some careful consideration before the legislation is rammed through the parliament without regard to how these measures will impact on the environment, and how the proposed changes will be monitored and policed.”

“The number one problem with this legislation in allowing collection of firewood from state forests of two cubic metres per day per person and 16 cubic metres per annum is that it just cannot be policed.”

“There are just not enough personnel employed by DSE or DPI to keep check on the level of pillaging of firewood that has occurred and will continue to occur.”

“In Bendigo the staff must cover an area that goes from Heathcote to Rushworth, right across the Bendigo region, to Gunbower, to the Pyrenees, Maryborough and Castlemaine. There are just not enough staff to do this and recent cuts to DPI and DSE offices in the regions will make it even harder to police.”

“According to the Box Ironbark Report released in 2001 in 15-20 years Victoria would run out of firewood. The recommendation in this report was for the diversification of farming on private land to include the growing of trees specifically for firewood.”

“As a result there are large areas around Skipton near Ballarat, in Gippsland and in North Kamarooka where these private growers are ready to harvest”.

“And in a complete contrast to the National Party members claims that they are there to represent the farmers and agricultural interests they have gone against their own philosophy and undercut these private growers by allowing a tax payer funded free for all wood collection fiasco to continue unabated across the State.”

“Since the Member for Northern Victoria, Wendy Lovell opened up a can of worms by declaring it open slather on firewood collection there has been a breaking down of this culture and of what is right and what is wrong when it comes to fire wood collection.”

“This policy like many the government have introduced was done without proper consideration of the consequences, and the implications.”

“The current free for all that now exists has resulted in growing concern among rural and regional people that the system is open to and in fact is promulgating abuse”.

“Of further concern is that under this new system people collecting firewood will have to read the Government gazette and or go to the DSE website to understand their rights and these potentially will change through the firewood season”.

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